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Insurer invokes financial hardship policy

One of Australia's life insurers has taken a range of measures to assist customers who have been negatively affected by the effects of COVID-19.

Integrity Life acting chief executive Lesley Mamelok said the firm has invoked a number of measures to help those clients who may have a reduced capacity to pay during the pandemic.

"Initiatives taken by Integrity include; invoking our financial hardship policy for clients who have reduced capacity to pay due to the current situation, consideration of alternate methods of information collection to ease the burden on our health system, maintaining standard underwriting guidelines for all applicants, and no blanket COVID-19 exclusions," Mamelok said.

"Integrity Life remains open for business and focused on supporting our customers, their clients, and the broader community, in navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic."

The changes come as ASIC called on life and general insurers to show "flexibility" during the COVID-19 crisis.

The regulator said it is committed to working constructively and pragmatically with general and life insurers to help Australians affected by the pandemic to recover, and to aid the general functioning of the economy.

"ASIC expects insurers to handle insurance claims with utmost good faith and to deal with complaints genuinely, promptly, fairly and consistently," the regulator said.

"Insurers should be flexible in dealing with consumers' specific circumstances."

The regulator said in circumstances where a consumer is not able to pay premiums due to financial hardship stemming from COVID-19 the industry is expected to help consumers keep key coverage.

Mamelok said that while Integrity Life's measures pre-date the call from ASIC, it's very supportive of industry-wide standards.

"Integrity Life supports the expectations outlined in ASIC's recent letter to life insurers to assist Australians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," Mamelok said.

Read our full COVID-19 news coverage and analysis here.

Read more: COVID-19Integrity LifeASICLesley MamelokLife insuranceCoronavirus
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